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92 Items in this Learning Collection

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Bodhisattva Manjusri (Monju Bosatsu)

Accession Number

Bodhisattva Manjusri (Monju Bosatsu)


Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
17th century

Medium & Support
ink and color on paper

44 11/16 in. x 10 1/4 in. ( 113.5 cm x 26 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Ellen and Richard Laing

Label copy
Recent Acquisitions Part II
March 31-August 5, 2012
Bodhisattva Manjusri (Monju Bosatsu)
Edo Period (1615–1868)
17th century
Hanging scroll, ink, and color on paper
Gift of Ellen and Richard Laing, 2006/2.10

Subject matter
One of the most popular bodhisattvas in Japan, Monju (Sanskrit Mañjuśrī) was venerated as the bodhisattva of wisdom. Believed to be a disciple of the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni), Monju represented the enlightened mind and the teachings of the Buddha. Monju’s iconography speaks to his close association with wisdom and Buddhist teachings: the vajra sword represents cutting through the ignorance and illusions of the unenlightened mind, while the scroll is the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Japanese: Hannya-kyō; Sanskrit: Prajñāpāramitā sūtra). Monju’s typical mount of a lion, included in this image as a smaller attribute is symbolic of Buddhism’s ability to overcome obstacles through the strength of its voice. Monju is also directly associated with Yuima (Sanskrit: Vimalakīrti), a layman with a deep understanding of Mahayana Buddhist teachings. The sutra Yuima-kyō tells of a debate between Monju and Yuima where the latter demonstrates his greater understanding of Buddhism’s teachings.

Physical Description
This hanging scroll depicts Monju (Sanskrit: Mañjuśrī), the bodhisattva of wisdom, seated on a lotus pedestal, holding his typical attributes of a vajra sword and a scroll. His typical lion mount is depicted underneath the base of lotus surrounded by peonies.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Collection Area

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